((The RP XP With MJ #7))
Darth Tagious found the abandoned Czerka garage with the Force, zeroing in on the bounty hunter and agent who captured the Twi’lek smuggler. He waved his hand at the door and it swooshed aside at his bidding.
“My lord,” Agent Jenla Ruf said, and snapped to attention as the oppressive Sith entered the back room. Boarsch simply looked up from where he crouched before the beaten Twi’lek, a cold smirk dividing his face.
Both of them appeared slightly more haggard than Tagious would have imagined, and the agent’s uniform was partially unzipped. His nose wrinkled at the distaste, knowing the Mandalorian and Chiss had been… intimate.
Tagious looked at the Twi’lek woman bound to the chair and frowned. “Report.”
Jenla said, “The Jedi she was meeting is named Kendris, my lord. He is here at the spaceport, aboard a ship called the Regail. It is just him, his Zabrak Padawan and a small crew.”
The Sith Lord’s patience was as boundless as a Jedi Consular’s. Still, it took every ounce of his being to keep from snapping the agent’s neck for such a useless report. He waited, his yellow eyes boring into the Chiss agent’s like lasers in the dark.
“Darth Tagious,” the bounty hunter interrupted, standing. “My lord, I believe the intelligence supplied by the fleet was in error. This ain’t the tailhead we’re lookin’ for.”
Tagious turned to Boarsch with a deep scowl. “Indeed.”
Jenla seemed to stand taller. “Perhaps nearby, my lord, in a neighboring syst–.”
Tagious turned on the agent and reached out with the Force.
Jenla felt her throat close. She couldn’t breathe or speak. The invisible pressure lifted her to her toes.
Boarsch stepped forward boldly. “My lord, I have a suggestion!”
Tagious hissed, ignoring the Mandalorian, “If you dare to lead me down the wrong path again, Agent Ruf, I will kill you with a thought.” He released her from the Force choke and Jenla collapsed against a wall, rubbing the ache from her neck. The dark lord turned on the bounty hunter.
Boarsch held up his hands. “The Jedi trail you as you trail them, my lord. Let Jenla–Agent Ruf–and I pursue these leads alone, separate from your efforts, sir. We can find the Twi’lek easier without all the Jedi you attract.”
Tagious looked down at Yulel. He seemed to consider this.
Jenla regained some of her composure and looked on hopefully.
Finally, Tagious sneered and said, “I’ll give you one chance. Find me what I seek… or I’ll turn my whims to you.” He glared at Boarsch and Jenla before turning to leave.
Boarsch released a breath after a long moment. “You know, if he came in here just five minute earlier–“
“Shut up,” Jenla snapped. “I’m thinking.”
If you were Darth Tagious, would you have killed Agent Ruf? If you were Jenla Ruf, would you use Boarsch and cast him aside like a dry husk in a spider’s web? If you were the bounty hunter, would you drop a thermal detonator and say ‘screw you’ to the whole deal?
Maybe, but there are certain restraints you have to have when RPing, even among your “own kind.” You simply can’t kill off other players’ characters. In the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, “There are alternatives to fighting.”
This week’s column is about RPing as a “bad guy,” particularly the subtleties of the art and taking your RP beyond the stereotypical rage. There have been some great articles written about RolePlaying a Sith (I’ll link a good one below along with a swtor forum discussion), so I’m going to concentrate instead on the generalization of simply RPing each of the Imperial classes.
And I’ll throw in a couple of “unique classes” you can reinvent through RP. Enjoy.
RPING AS A SITH WARRIOR
Taking Darth Vader as our model, let’s consider a few things about the Sith Warrior. First, he’s determined. He has a direction and a forcefulness. He’s usually under the orders of his master or some higher military authority, such as a Grand Moff. He has a lust for power, but it’s typically contained within the constraints of his Sith teachings or the commands of his leaders and rarely (if ever) expands to total domination. His needs and desires are his own. He’s selfish, and cruel. He takes things personally.
A couple of good points to note about a Sith Warrior is that they, like anyone else, have feelings and desires. If you haven’t read Deceived by Paul S. Kemp, It’s particularly good for Sith insight and a very telling (and, at times, tender) portrait of our resident TOR baddie, Darth Malgus. I highly recommend it.
As you delve into your Sith Warrior RP Portrayal, consider the following:
– Sith does NOT equal evil. Sure, there is ‘right’ and ‘wrong,’ but from your perspective you’re the right one and the Jedi are wrong. From your perspective, you’re doing what is ‘right’ or ‘noble’ or ‘valorous’ according to your code, your master’s wishes, your teachings, or simply from the basis of your perception of the galaxy.
– Passion is your driving force. To a Sith, peace is stagnation and death. Passion energizes you, gives you strength. “Peace is a lie, there is only passion,” is the first line of the Sith Code. From it, all else gains power.
– Vanquishing your foe does not mean “slaughter mindlessly.” Being Sith does not give you a license for wanton murder and violence. You are not an animal, you are a lord. Act like one.
– Revenge can take many forms. Mental torture, theft, coercion, banishment, confiscation, imposing your will over the weak are all acceptable alternatives to simply Force Choking someone to death. Just remember to plan this out with those with whom you RP. Find a middle ground that won’t have you godmodding.
– Kill all the NPCs you want. Create a back story that includes leaving a trail of death in your wake of all those who opposed you. The PCs you “allow to live” are the “lucky ones.”
– Be unique. The story of of “Darth Plagueis the Wise” featured a Sith whose aim it seemed was to create and extend life. Granted, I haven’t read the Plagueis book. I’m taking Sidious’ word on this.
If you team up with another RPer as a Master and Apprentice, we all know how it’s going to end. Prolong the inevitable through non-lethal (and cooperatively communicated) torture if you must, but remember the role of an apprentice is to learn, a master’s to teach. RolePlay cooperative scenarios that have cool things for both of you to do.
RPING AS A SITH INQUISITOR
Most of the same rules apply for the Inquisitor except that the Sith Inquisitor’s model is based on Darth Sidious, everyone’s favorite lightning-throwing crabby grandpa. Your role as an Inquisitor is one of measured power building upon power. Your ultimate dream is of ultimate power (on whatever scale you, as the RPer, choose to apply). You were born out of sorcery and Sith mysticism. You have discovered (or are discovering) the core of “True Force Power within the Sith!” Grrrr. Can you feel it?
This one is actually a little easier to carry RP-wise because the Sith Inquisitor is a conniver and a planner. He’s not expected to throw down death at the drop of a hat. How long must Sidious have plotted and planned his way through the Republic government before eventually revealing himself as the Emperor?
The bottom line on both Force-casting bad guys is this: “Sith” is a heritage, a title, an Order, a people. It’s not an acronym for Send It To Hell. Just like “Mandalorian” or “Twi’lek” or “Citizen of Coruscant,” it’s just a name. It’s not a template. Create an RP personality for your character and let it shine (or darken) beyond the stereotypes. Be an individual. Create a new archetype through personality development.
For further reading, I recommend How to Role Play a Sith by Darth_Casus for playing a Sith in RP. The link jumps into a swtor forum discussion on the topic and it’s an excellent primer for anyone who takes their Sith RP seriously.
RPING AS A BOUNTY HUNTER
Throughout Star Wars lore, the bounty hunter has made a mark as the high-tech, gadget-heavy, ass-kicking, Sarlaac-choking S.O.B. of the galaxy. Your portrayal may be no different. With a bounty hunter portrayal it’s all about the stories you can tell and the history you create.
As with any character you bring to RP, you should have a solid background in mind. If you don’t go deep into family history or upbringing, you should at least consider recent history. Bounty hunters will have tons of stories to entertain their fellow Imps, or spin to make their enemies quake in their boots. Make them part of your RP and keep creating new ones.
In Star Wars: The Old Republic, your bounty hunter will have their own personal quest to complete that’s sure to fill your docket with bounties to hunt. Think of these as samples for richer, more fleshed-out stories you can tack onto your bounty hunter’s RP biography.
Here are some things to consider for creating your own bounty hunter’s lore:
– Will you also be playing another class simultaneously as an alt? What if your smuggler had a price on her head and your bounty hunter was the lucky one to pull the contract? Imagine the fun you can have RPing with your friends playing both the hunter and the hunted.
– What animals have you slain in your travels? Do you have a story about the rancor that ate one of your contracts before you could get to him? Use off-game planets and wildlife to build a rich background.
– Star Wars is filled with “Remember when” stories. Han Solo reminding Leia in Empire about “The bounty hunter we ran into on Ord Mantell,” and Anakin and Obi-Wan in Attack of the Clones chuckling about the “Nest of gundarks,” are just a couple. Create your own and have fun with it.
– Good characters aren’t “supermen.” Tell stories about the “one that got away” or the time you had a price on your own head for failing a Hutt, or about the time you fell in love with a target and just couldn’t bring yourself to take her down.
– Invent gadgets. They may not exist in-game, but anything is possible in RP. Make up something like a “Reverse Polarity Holocron” you use to hijack communication signals and triangulate contract locations.
RPING AS AN IMPERIAL AGENT
Often portrayed as suave, dastardly, conniving, the Imperial agent is the bane of anyone who crosses their paths. Part “more sophisticated” bounty hunter, part 007 of evil, the Imperial agent rolls through the galaxy as the shadowy dagger point of the Imperial forces.
Unlike the bounty hunter, an agent isn’t likely to tell tales out of school. You probably won’t catch one talking about the “one that got away” or the “one that was blown out an airlock.” More than likely, an Imperial agent will live their life silent as a snake and just as deadly, striking from a distance and plotting from a further distance.
But that’s boring for RP.
Bring your agent to life with RP that doesn’t require dialog. If you play her as the strong-silent, or mysteriously-oblique type, use emotes when words won’t do.
Here are some possible narrative cues you can use (and what they might convey):
– *Raises an eyebrow* (Suspicious)
– *Slowly lowers his hand to his blaster* (Just try it)
– *Examines her fingernails* (You bore me)
– *Looks around before placing the device…* (Planting a bug/bomb/etc.)
– *Sneers* (That amuses me and annoys me at the same time)
– *Kicks back, closing her eyes and folding her arms over her chest* (Nothing scares me or can sneak up on me)
– *Presses ‘RECORD’ on his armcom* (Suspiciously recording something. Video? Audio?)
– *Takes note of [people/security/droids/windows/access points/weapons/the time]* (Looks like something’s going to go down soon, and I’m ready for it).
RPING AS AN IMPERIAL SPY
No, you won’t find this on the TOR web site. I made it up. It’s an example of what you can do with RP, taking elements from the game and twisting them into new and unique takes on the familiar.
Your Imperial spy could be a Trooper or a Smuggler (Force-using classes would be problematic, but I have an idea that I’ll outline for you next). For the sake of this example, I’ll use the Trooper.
What’s the best way to learn about Republic troop movements, Jedi support convoys, new Republic listening posts? Plant a spy in the Republic military machine, that’s how. Begin by creating a Trooper character with the mindset that he’s actually one of the Empire’s finest. The work comes with the character’s background; you’ll need two of them to maintain the duality of the spy: his cover story, which will include his Republic military history, and his “true” story as an Imperial Agent working behind enemy lines.
In-game, you may choose conversation options that bend you toward the dark side but in RP you constantly work to maintain your cover as a “good guy.” Play it up and make a game of it. In RP conversations, see if you can recruit others to the cause by talking up the Empire. Play up the efficiency of the Imperial military machine and see who takes the bait.
But be careful. You don’t want to be found out!
RPING AS A DARK/FALLEN JEDI
Working with the same principle outlined above under the Imperial Spy, create a Jedi who has been soured by the public view against the Order, the stodgy rigidness of the Jedi Code, the desire to find love or a relationship frowned upon by the very Order you represent.
The Pissed Off Jedi is on his way to the Dark Side. Play him as you would anyone angry about their station in life. Whether he wants to leave the Order and roam the galaxy as a rogue or knock on the door of the Sith Empire and offer his services, your Dark Jedi will raise eyebrows in public RP or in-game with his persistent dark side choices.
To RP a Dark Jedi, don’t fall into the trap of simply playing a Sith in Jedi robes. Be subtle, waffle between light and dark, play him reserved until the right buttons are pushed. Pull back or deny your outbursts if called out by fellow Knights. Remember also to be fair and offer other players a chance to act off of you. If something bothers your Dark Jedi, his mood will show to other Force users around him. Use narrative tells to drop clues to your true nature, but have fun by verbally denying it. If they persist… Huttball challenge! …Kidding.
Keep in mind that any of the descriptions of “how to RP” can be interchangeable. You may choose to play a boisterous Agent and a quiet Bounty Hunter. Mix things up. Try something new. And, as always, if you want to bounce an idea off of me or ask a question, reply below or write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May the Force(fulness) be with you, Sithies.
NEXT TIME: Keep your Jedi impressions coming. Email me at the address above and let me know what kind of Jedi you plan to play. Did you get a Beta? Without breaking NDA, drop me a line and give me your impressions of RPability in swtor. ….See you next Friday. MJ
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